It was October in the year of our Lord, 1621. The pilgrims had suffered the sickness and hunger of the winter of 1620 which cost the lives of nearly half of the people that had come to this new world on the Mayflower.
They had plowed the fertile soil of New England and it had produced a bounteous, harvest. Also they were able to walk safely in the woods, for they had made friends of the Indians, and had signed a long lasting treaty with them. They invited the Indians to join with them, and then for three days they enjoyed games of skill and chance in which time they gorged themselves on venison, roast duck, wild turkey and the fruits of the field. It was a day especially set aside to give thanks to the "river of all things."
After the first New England Thanksgiving, the custom spread throughout the colonies. Then in 1789, George Washington proclaimed November 26th a day of thanksgiving. His proclamation: "Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to be grateful for his benefits . . . . Now I recommend and assign Thursday, November 26th to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious being."
The theme of Thanksgiving has always been, "peace and plenty" Health and happiness." And it should be a day of not merely "Thanks" but also "Giving."
Today, instead, we hear, "Be sure to watch Channel (blank) for the "Big Turkey Day Parade." We see signs on stores that say, Don't miss our great Turkey Day sale."
I am sure it is easier for some people to call it Turkey Day than Thanksgiving because one of their children may ask the question," What is meant by Thanksgiving and then they would have to explain that there is a God who is our creator and because of his goodness we have the bounties of life. I wonder how many American families, when they sit down to their Thanksgiving feast, actually take a moment to offer a prayer of thanks and gratitude for the blessings of living in this 'Heaven-blessed' land of freedom and plenty. Or, how many are ashamed to have the kids see their dad or mother bow their heads and say a simple prayer of thanks.
To me the question stands; Are we thankful Americans or just turkeys?